T. van der Zwet
Fire blight was first reported by Denning in 1794 from the North American continent in the upper Hudson River valley of New York. However, the disease was not known to be caused by a bacterium until 1880 and the organism was later named Erwinia amylovora. By 1900, fire blight had moved into Ontario, Canada and had reached the western states of California, Oregon and Washington. By 1950, the disease had been reported from Japan (1903), New Zealand (1919), Bermuda (1938) and Mexico (1943). During the next decade, fire blight spread eastward and was reported from England in 1957 and from Egypt in 1964. From those two locations the disease spread rapidly through western Europe and the Middle East region, respectively. During the next 45 years, fire blight was reported from all countries in Europe except (in alphabetical order): Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia. However, several of these countries are suspected to have the disease, though yet unreported. During the decade of the nineties, several intriguing events occurred in three countries around the Pacific rim. In 1992, a bacterial shoot blight of pear (BSBP) was reported from Japan on predominantly Asian pears and the causal organism was described as E. amylovora pv pyri. In 1997, the fire blight-like symptoms were observed on a few ornamental rosaceous plants in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. Following thorough eradication procedures and numerous surveys in pome fruit growing areas in all six states of the country, to date fire blight has not been observed on any host plant in the family Rosaceae. In 1999, a new disease was reported from South Korea to cause necrotic branches on Asian pears and the causal agent was named E. pyrifolia. Symptomatology, host specificity and bacterial biology reportedly appear extremely close to those described for BSBP. Considering the fact that these closely related diseases are a form of fire blight, the disease has currently been officially reported from 43 countries, predominantly in Europe and the Middle East, from where it can easily spread in an easterly direction across the continent of Asia.
van der Zwet, T. (2002). PRESENT WORLDWIDE DISTRIBUTION OF FIRE BLIGHT. Acta Hortic. 590, 33-34
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2002.590.1

Acta Horticulturae